Bed bugs are notorious for their infestations and the discomfort they cause.
One telltale sign of their presence is their poop, which can often be found on bed sheets or in their hiding places.
Identifying bed bug feces is crucial in order to effectively inspect and combat a potential infestation.
These small, flat, parasitic insects feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep, leaving behind rusty or tarry spots as they excrete the remains of their blood meals.
In fact, adult bed bugs and large nymphs void the remains of their earlier meals 20% of the time while still feeding.
Understanding bed bug poop can help you detect an infestation early and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from these unwelcome guests.
Knowing where to look for bed bug poop is vital in preventing and detecting an infestation. You should check bed sheets, mattress seams, box springs, and other dark and secluded areas where bed bugs love to hide.
Remain vigilant, and make sure you’re well-informed about bed bug feces to keep your living space free of these persistent pests.
Identifying Bed Bug Poop
Color and Consistency
Bed bug feces, or poop, typically has a dark color, ranging from black to dark brown.
It has a thick, ink-like consistency, and when dried, it may appear as small black or brown spots on surfaces. Some characteristics of bed bug feces include:
- Dark color (black to dark brown)
- Thick, ink-like consistency
Location and Shape
Bed bug feces can be found in various locations where the bed bugs reside, such as mattresses, box springs, and furniture crevices.
The poop appears in small, round or elongated spots, often grouped close together. Some examples of locations and shapes include:
- Small, round spots on mattress seams
- Elongated, thin streaks in furniture crevices
Smell and Size
Bed bug feces typically has a sweet, musty odor, which can become more noticeable in severe infestations.
The size of the fecal spots can vary, but they are usually small, ranging from 1mm to 4mm in diameter. Some properties of bed bug feces smell and size include:
- Sweet, musty odor
- Small size (1mm to 4mm in diameter)
|Feature||Bed Bug Feces|
|Color||Black to dark brown|
|Shape||Round or elongated spots|
|Smell||Sweet, musty odor|
|Size||1mm to 4mm in diameter|
Signs of Bed Bug Infestation
Bites and Skin Reactions
- Bed bug bites resemble bites from other insects.
- Can cause significant itchiness and discomfort.
Some people may not realize they have an infestation because their skin doesn’t show any reaction.
Fecal Spots on Bedding and Furniture
- Small, dark brown or black spots on sheets, mattresses, and other surfaces.
- Indicate the presence of bed bugs.
A tell-tale sign of bed bug infestation is fecal spots on bedding and furniture. These dark brown or black spots are excrement left behind after feeding.
Check for these spots on sheets, mattresses, and surrounding areas to determine if bed bugs are present.
Bed Bug Shed Skins and Eggs
- Shed skins appear as translucent, light brown exoskeletons.
- Tiny, white eggs found in hidden spots.
Bed bugs go through several life stages, leaving behind shed skins as they grow.
These shed skins appear as translucent, light brown exoskeletons.
Additionally, look for tiny, white bed bug eggs in hidden spots, like crevices and seams of mattresses and furniture.
Bed Bug Droppings and Their Effects
Staining and Damage to Fabrics
These spots are actually bed bug fecal matter left on fabrics such as bedding, mattresses, and clothing.
The staining can be difficult to remove and may cause permanent damage to some materials.
For example, silk and light-colored fabrics are particularly vulnerable to staining due to the chemicals present in bed bug droppings.
To prevent staining and damage from bed bug droppings on your belongings:
- Regularly inspecting mattresses and bedding
- Washing affected items promptly in hot water and detergent
Allergic Reactions and Health Risks
Bed bug droppings contain histamines, which can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to bed bug fecal matter may include:
- Itchy, red skin
- Nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
Aside from allergic reactions, bed bug droppings can also pose health risks due to their unsanitary nature. Health hazards linked to bed bug fecal matter are:
- Asthma exacerbation
- Eczema flare-ups
It’s essential to maintain a clean living space, promptly treat bed bug infestations, and seek medical advice if you experience any symptoms or health issues related to bed bug droppings.
|Effects of Bed bug Droppings||Staining and Damage to Fabrics||Allergic Reactions and Health Risks|
|Appearance||Rust or black spots||N/A|
|Common on||Bedding, mattresses, clothing||N/A|
|Prevention||Regular inspection and washing||Clean living space, treat infestations|
|Consequences||Permanent staining, damage||Itchy skin, swelling, congestion|
How to Clean Bed Bug Poop
Removing Stains from Bedding and Mattresses
To remove stains from bedding, first strip the sheets and wash them in hot water. For mattresses, wet a soft cloth with warm water, and gently dab the stained area until it is clean.
Here are some tips for cleaning mattresses:
- Use a light touch since rubbing too hard may spread the stain
- Use a mattress protector or encasement after cleaning
Cleaning Walls and Furniture
For cleaning walls and furniture, consider using the following methods:
- Vacuum: Remove loose debris from the affected areas by vacuuming the bed bug fecal matter
- Steam Cleaning: A steam cleaner may help to sanitize and remove stubborn stains and possible insect allergens
- Wipe Surfaces: Use a wet cloth or sponge to clean away the remaining residue
Preventing Further Infestations
After cleaning bed bug poop, take preventive measures to avoid future infestations. Some suggestions include:
- Regularly inspect your mattress and bedding for signs of bed bugs
- Seal any cracks or crevices in your walls or furniture
- Use pesticides carefully and as instructed
|Method||Effectiveness||Safety||Ease of Use|
Remember always to clean affected areas thoroughly and take proper precautions to prevent further infestations.
Bed bugs are notorious pests that leave behind distinctive fecal matter as evidence of their presence.
This fecal matter, often found on bedding, mattresses, and clothing, appears as small rust or black spots. These spots are the result of bed bugs excreting the remains of their blood meals.
It’s crucial to identify and understand the characteristics of bed bug poop, such as its dark color, thick consistency, and musty odor, to effectively detect and address infestations.
Regular inspections, thorough cleaning, and preventive measures are essential to maintain a bed bug-free environment and ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about bed bugs. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Bed Bugs infest Child’s Stroller
Found in kids stroller
October 25, 2009
Hi! Today I observed several insects in the stroller where my 7 months son was sleeping. After excamining the stroller I found lots of them in different folds of the fabric aswell.
I find this quite shocking and like to know what kind of insect this is. We have been experiencing lous earlier, but they’re longer and thinner than these buggers.
Throw the stroller away immediately and have your home or apartment checked out professionally. This is an immature Bed Bug. It is probably sucking your child’s blood.
There was just an article in the Los Angeles Times about using dogs to sniff out Bed Bug infestations in homes. It is very difficult to eradicate Bed Bugs once they are established, and professional are required.
Thanks for your quick reply, although I cannot say I’m pleased. Have been running around the house whole night looking for signs of other infestations, but so far I’ve found nothing. My wife said that she’s been seeing the typical black dots in his strollers madras before, and they went off in the wash. She said she wondered why they came back, but we sure know nowL I don’t know why we’re not finding any other places they are hiding, since it has to have been there for some time. Dismounted our bed this morning, not a single sign there, nor in cracks, below or beneath it. But I sure left my wife in a state of terror knowing the bugs must be somewhere.
Comment from Eric Eaton
The bed bugs in the baby stroller may actually be confined to the stroller. Maybe the stroller was parked overnight at someone else’s house? In a motel? Hostel?
If baby is in the stroller with any regularity, then the bed bugs would have no reason to leave the stroller to look for another “host.”
The parents need to consider where else the stroller has been, and notify the other family or lodging establishment.
Bed bugs have been found on planes, trains (and automobiles?), so it is not out of the question to consider a stroller as another kind of vehicle.
Letter 2 – Bed Bugs, including evidence and effects, from Iran
August 6, 2014 10:22 pm
we found this bug about two month ago in the house and it seems s.th wrong with bites of that and actually the house is full of them now!
the first photo is Oviposition
the second one is the bug himself!
i’ll send alergy effect of my body to the bite of this bug as 3rd photo
,plz help me..;-)
Though we sympathize with your situation, we are grateful that you have provided us with such comprehensive documentation of Bed Bugs, evidence associated with them and the effects of their numerous, nocturnal bites.
The image that you have called “oviposition” is actually bedding that frequently provides the initial evidence that Bed Bugs are present.
According to BedBugs.net, signs of a Bed Bug infestation include: “Bed Bug Fecal Matter (looks like blood and often found as smears on sheets or linen)
… Blood Stains on Sheets From Bites, Bed Bug Bites,” and your images indicate you have all the signs of a major infestation.
We don’t know how good your extermination services are in Iran, but in North America where Bed Bug populations are on the rise, there is considerable publicity regarding the problem.
On a positive note, Bed Bugs are not considered to be vectors for diseases, but we are sure that you are aware that the nocturnal bites are more than a mere annoyance.
According to the University of Kentucky Entomology site: “Bed bugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices–especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards.
Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. Characteristically, these areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs.
Also present will be hatched and un-hatched eggs, the tannish shed skins of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another possible sign are rusty or reddish smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushed engorged bed bugs.
Although it’s often stated that bed bugs have a telltale ‘buggy’ odor, the smell is seldom evident except in extreme infestations and should not be relied upon for detection.” The University of Kentucky Entomology site also states: “A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases.
Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection.
Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals.”
Finally, the site states: “Bed bugs are challenging to eradicate. Since they can hide in so many places, inspections must be thorough and elimination is not always a certainty. Whenever resources allow, it’s prudent to enlist the services of a professional.
Experienced pest controllers know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of tools at their disposal. Nonetheless, owners and occupants can assist the professional in several important ways. Affording access to all living areas is crucial, and excess clutter will need to be removed.
Belongings strewn about rooms offer many places for the bugs to hide, and impede inspection and treatment. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it often will be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments as well.”
Now that you know what you have, you can do additional research and determine the best means for controlling the situation. Good luck.
Letter 3 – Bedbug INFESTATION
Bed Bug Species and Solutions BugMan,
One of my pictures is a juvenile and the other an adult (or elder juvenile). I know these are from family Cimicidae. Can you tell from the picture whether they are human bed bugs, or a species that prefers birds/bats?
If it is one of the latter, I may be tempted to head to the roof to seek out roosting flyers. I have only seen them on the walls, and my mattress looks uninhabited, yet I have snagged about 60 juveniles and 5 adults off the wall/ceiling.
I have noticed around 10 bites over the past two weeks that may be due to them, but that doesn’t seem like enough to sustain them all. Since realizing the bed bug problem, I have isolated my bed from the walls and other furniture, and I have tried to make the legs of the bed unappealing with some household insecticide at the base and some duct tape sticky-side-out part way up.
If they were indeed not in the mattress, and were prevented from traveling up the legs, would I still be in danger? I know they can crawl on the ceiling, so are they crafty enough to drop down onto the bed to feed? Any help or advice would be most appreciated.
Nathan in Saint Louis, MO
P.S. Best case scenario for me is to keep this info from my landlord for a while, for reasons too detailed to go into. However, I wouldn’t want someone else in the building to inherit my problem or for the problem to become unmanageable.
My hope is that these bugs are primarily interested in bats or birds, and that the bug problem may go away if those animals do. Or, that I can take measures to eradicate them myself.
P.P.S. You perform a great service. Kudos to you.
Sorry for the delay but you seem to have a rational approach to the situation. Had your letter not been so detailed, we would have simply responded with an affirmative Bedbug identification.
We checked with Eric Eaton to see what he could tell us about the species. Here is his response: “Wow, great image! Hope it makes its way to BugGuide eventually. It is absolutely impossible to identify even the GENUS without putting specimens under the microscope.
Subtle details like the patterns of setae (hairs) are among the only clues as to what they are. He should submit specimens to the county health department and/or county extension service for an accurate ID.
This could have lots of implications, from landlord negligence to bat conservation issues, so it really needs to be addressed. Sorry I can’t be of more help myself. Eric” So Nathan, in closing, we echo Eric’s advice to seek out the County Health Department.
Being unsure what your reasons are for keeping this from the landlord, we really feel he should know. This story is not being posted on our homepage, but going directly to the Bedbug archive in an attempt to reduce hysteria among the desperate homemakers in our readership.
Letter 4 – Bed Bugs
Dear bug man,
In the last few months my roomates and I have been the unfortunate hosts to the dreaded Bed Bug. Until I met the nasty critters in real life, I thought they were only the fabricated subject of the cute little pre-bedtime saying “Night-night, don’t let the bed bugs bite”. But they do exist.
And they have become a part of my living nightmare now for three long months. I live in Brooklyn, New York in a building with four apartments. The bugs were brought in by our upstairs neighbors. The short of the story is that I have to move out of this building because I cannot take it anymore.
I am also afraid that I will bring them with me when I go. Do you have any advice about a bug free move? As it is, I am throwing out my bed my dresser and my couches (that is the extent of my furniture anyway). And I am laundering every article of clothing and bedding and then moving it into storage.
The other distressing aspect of my story is that I have become a social pariah. One of my friends just moved into a new apartment and will not allow me to set foot into her home until I am free of bed bugs.
She also refuses to see me… well, anywhere. I think she would cross the street if she happened to run into me in Manhattan one day. This has caused a strain on our friendship because, in reality i think she is being paranoid…. is she?
Will the eggs stick to my clothes even after i have laundered them? i don’t sleep in my apartment anymore anyway. I am living at my boyfriends while i move out of the infested apartment. Please help me.
It sucks that my friends are treating me like I have a communicable disease. Maybe I should just get new friends. Thanks for any advice you can give!
I sympathize with you.
You do need to worry about taking the pests with you. Bed bugs may be transported from place
to place on clothing or in luggage or furniture, and they can migrate from house to house.
Eggs are generally laid in cracks, not on people or clothing. The bugs are nocturnal and
during the day, they hide in cracks in the walls, under the baseboard, in the springs of a
bed, under the edge of a mattress, under wallpaper, and in similar places.
My advice is to fumigate before leaving, only take furniture that is irreplacable. Get a new
box spring and mattress, eliminate most of your clothing and only take freshly laundered
clothing to your new place. Good luck.
Letter 5 – Bedbug
Short, Flat, Red, and Tiny
Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 11:04 PM
Recently my girlfriend and I have been finding these in our apartment every few days, and we’re a little concerned. We took two photos:
I squished one in kleenex the other day and it seemed like lots of blood was inside of it.
Save us from the insect overlords,
San Francisco, CA
Dear Sir or Madam,
You and your girlfriend have cause for concern. This is a Bedbug, and indications are that there is currently an epidemic of Bedbug infestations in many large cities. Bedbugs feed on human blood, and they can survive for long periods of time without a meal.
Bedbugs often hide by day under the mattress, between the wall and baseboards, or under picture frames. They emerge at night when the human inhabitants are asleep.
The bite of a Bedbug can get red and itchy, but often the first indication of an infestation is the dark stains on the sheets from the bug’s excrement. The Bedbugs also emit a foul musty odor. Bedbugs can be difficult to eradicate. On a positive note, Bedbugs are not known to be disease vectors.
Letter 6 – Bed Bugs in France
Are these Bed Bugs?
Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 4:39 AM
I found some bugs in my bed a few months ago and concluded that they were bed-bugs. I found a lot of them under the matress, so I sprayed an insecticide to get rid of them.
They seem to be back, but much smaller now. In the photo, you can see one larger bug (which I guess is a bed-bug), and two smaller ones. Are these just young bed-bugs, or something else?
Sadly, your identification is correct. All three insects in your photo are Bed Bugs, and their immature status indicates you must have breeders nearby as well. Ordinary spray insecticide will not rid your place of Bed Bugs.
You should seed professional assistance for the eradication of your infestation. If you rent a flat, inform the landlord. Bed Bugs often hide under the mattress, behind pictures, and between the baseboards and the wall.
Consult BugGuide for more information on Bed Bugs. Since Bed Bugs feed on blood, they are most troublesome.
Letter 7 – Bed Bug, we believe
Possible beg bug
Location: St. Paul, MN
July 20, 2011 7:17 pm
First off, thank you so much for this site. I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but it truly is a phenomenal reference.
I found the attached little guy on the underside of my comforter. He looks like a bed bug, but I’m hoping you’ll say he’s a carpet beetle. (Fingers crossed!)
It’s July here in the Twin Cities, MN, so we get plenty of interesting beetles showing up this time of year.
I’ve searched my room and haven’t been able to locate any others. I also haven’t noticed any bite marks on myself, however I do have a cat in the house.
I’ve attached two photos with a penny as a size reference.
Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much!
Signature: Hopeful for carpet beetle
Please don’t shoot the messenger. In our opinion, this is a Bed Bug, or a closely related Bat Bug, which will also bite humans. The photo does not have the best resolution, so we might be wrong, but we are relatively certain we are correct.
Letter 8 – Bed Bug we believe
What type of bug is this please?
Location: Buffalo, NY
December 1, 2011 1:58 pm
What type of bug is this please?
I added my correct email address. Previous one was misspelled. Thanks!
First we apologize for the delay. We have a small staff and we are unable to respond to all the requests that we receive. Our identification requests are at their lowest with the arrival of winter in North America, so we are trying to catch up on some unanswered mail.
Had we responded sooner, you might have begun taking steps to ensure that you do not develop an infestation. We get many frantic requests to identify creatures found in beds because of growing internet and journalistic coverage on increasing populations of Bed Bugs, especially in urban centers.
Most of those identification requests are false alarms, however in your case, we believe you have a real Bed Bug. You should probably seek some professional assistance if you have any indication that there are more Bed Bugs at the location where this individual was found.
Letter 9 – Bed Bugs
Subject: Blood-sucking roaches?
Location: Nashville TN
January 20, 2015 8:29 pm
A friend’s apt is infested with the bugs shown in photo. They attach themselves to get his blood while he sleeps. Boric acid has diminished their number but does not eliminate them.
Bug repellent does not keep them at bay. When he sits at his computer, he observes them gradually, all around, creeping toward him to feed. Adults are ~1/8″, mid photo is a young one. He first thought they were roaches, but now he’s not sure. This is in Nashville, TN. Any suggestions?
Your friend has Bed Bugs and re recommend that your friend seek professional assistance in this matter.
Letter 10 – Bed Bug: To worry or not to worry???
Location: United States
April 22, 2015 7:13 pm
What is this? Should I be worried?
Signature: not important
Dear not important,
This appears to be a Bed Bug. We will leave the decision about worrying up to your discretion, however, we would advise you to address the situation if this sighting occurred in a place where you reside.
Approximately five years ago, Bed Bug identification requests started to come to us more frequently, and more often than not, the culprit was some other creature, like a Carpet Beetle larva.
More recently, incidences of actual Bed Bug sightings have risen sharply on our site. Either Bed Bug infestations are spreading, or people are becoming more aware of household insects that are not Bed Bugs, explaining a reduction in false alarm requests.
Letter 11 – Bed Bugs
Subject: Identify this bug please!
Location: Kansas City Kansas
June 8, 2015 9:50 pm
For about two – three months note this bug appears on beds and blankets. We’ve only found in total about 5. I don’t what they are and I don’t like them in the house. I want to find a way to get them out and keep them out.
This is a Bed Bug. Bed Bugs will bite sleeping humans and suck blood. We would urge you to get professional assistance in their removal.
Letter 12 – Bed Bugs
Subject: please help me identify
Location: Southern Illinois
December 5, 2015 7:42 pm
I don’t know if these are all three the same bug. But all appeared within 24 hours. I live in southern Illinois
The largest and medium insect are definitely Bed Bugs that feed on the blood of humans while they are sleeping. The smallest insect is most likely also a Bed Bug. You probably have an infestation and you may want to consider contacting your landlord or a professional if you are the homeowner.